On the surface, Lindsey Dunkley is your basic prototypical homemaker. She's 29, married to Tim, mom to Hunter, 8, Ryker, 4, and Tyler, who just turned 1. Her days are spent taking the kids to their lessons, to the park for picnics, cleaning the house, fixing dinner, the usual busy-ness of a stay-at-home mom.

But Lindsey lives a hidden double life.

She's also a runner.

Before the husband and the kids and moving into the three-level on a cul-de-sac in American Fork, running was a big part of Lindsey's identity. She was a multiple state champion in high school, and as a college athlete at BYU she was an All-American distance runner in both cross country and track.

Like a lot of athletes, she thought maybe she could leave her sport behind when she got into the real, bills-paying world. But old habits die hard, and Lindsey the housewife soon had a dilemma on her hands: She wanted to continue to run competitively, but she also didn't want it to conflict with her role as wife and mother.

So she came up with Plan B.

She bought a treadmill, put it in the basement, and became a closet runner.

She's turned running into an indoor sport.

Every day she rises around 6 a.m., after her husband has left for work and before the kids wake up, and hustles downstairs and turns on the machine.

And for 40 minutes or so she's back on — as they say — the ol' treadmill.

She's finished, showered and dressed for the day by 8:30, tops.

"My neighbors don't even know what I'm doing," she laughs.

Nor do her kids.

"They think Mommy's fast, but they don't how," laughs Lindsey.

She never lets them see her sweat.

So far this year Lindsey has taken that treadmill training and won all four 5K races she's entered. At the recent Freedom Run in Provo she beat a field of hundreds and won $300 for being the fastest woman.

She realizes her appearances in the weekend road races do tend to blow her cover, as does the publicity she's received from becoming a member of the new MormonTimes.com running team. But she can live with that.

"I really need that competitive outlet," she says.

On July 24th, she'll be one of the favorites in the women's 10K at the annual Deseret News/KJZZ marathon and 10K (a field in excess of 2,500 is expected. The last day to register online at www.deseretnews.com/run is this Saturday).

Lindsey admits she's nervous about running the longer distance. "It's my first 10K in three years," she says.

Plus, to get anywhere near her career best time of 33:25, she'll have to average better than six minutes a mile — and the treadmill won't let her run anything faster than six-minute miles.

Still, Lindsey wouldn't trade her current circumstances for anything.

"I was watching the Olympic trials last month," she said. "The girls going to Beijing, they're all my age. I used to run against them. I was thinking about that, and then I thought, I'll take my family. I would be very empty without them."

Well, them, and the treadmill.


Lee Benson's column runs Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Please send e-mail to benson@desnews.com and faxes to 801-237-2527.